Family meals are important. You can create close family bonds and lifelong memories around the dinner table. Family meals can teach your child about healthful eating. You just need to be a good role model. When you try new foods, your child may be more adventurous with food too.
Here are some easy ways to make family meals a pleasant part of your family routine:
- Set a regular family mealtime. Regular mealtimes give your child a better chance to eat a variety of foods to get the right amount to grow and stay healthy.
- Eat around a table. It’s easier to talk and listen to your family when you face each other.
- Enjoy meal talk and conversation. No nagging or complaining. Ask your child open-ended questions, “Tell us something that happened today that made you happy?”
- Make it simple, make it quick! Spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the family table. Simple meals, even cold sandwiches, taste as good as meals that take more work. You can make any meal special if you all feel relaxed and mealtime is filled with caring and laughter.
- Show that family meals are important. Turn off the phones and TV. Have your family make calls before or after the meal hour.
Consider allowing your child to help with family meals. When children are more involved in the preparation process, they are more likely to be excited about family meals. Here are some tips to get them involved:
- Allow them to create paper place mats.
- Encourage them to help with setting the table.
- Allow them to help with kitchen tasks, perhaps tearing salad greens or putting bread in a basket.
- Turn off the TV and turn on some fun music for them to dance to.
- Ask them, “What would you like to do to help me?”
If fitting a family meal into an already busy schedule seems like a daunting task, start small. Try to aim for 1 family meal together each week and build slowly from there.
Remember: Eat Healthy, and Be Active. Your kids are watching!